The Darkling Thrush Essay

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In the following essay, Ownbey provides an overview of "The Darkling Thrush," finding that, despite the positive aspect of the thrush singing, the poem dwells overwhelmingly on despair and death.

A number of Thomas Hardy's poems are built on situations in which the speaker regretfully acknowledges his inability to react as orthodox religious believers might react. Sometimes this regret is made explicit as in "The Impercipient." Here the speaker, attending a cathedral service, laments his lack of power to make one of "this bright believing band."

Why always I must feel as blind
To sights my brethren see,
Why joys they've found I cannot find,
Abides a mystery.


Sometimes the regret is implied as in "The Oxen." Alluding to the legend that the oxen kneel at worship on Christmas Eve, the speaker comments:

So fair a fancy few would weave
In these years! Yet, I feel,
If someone...

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This section contains 1,146 words
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Poetry for Students
The Darkling Thrush from Poetry for Students. ©2005-2006 Thomson Gale, a part of the Thomson Corporation. All rights reserved.